A volunteering project based in Norfolk has reason to celebrate today – the Big Lottery has granted UK charity Volunteering Matters’  Futures project the sum of £485,309 to supplement its work and activities over the next three years.

Futures is a three year project to support young people in Norfolk who have additional support needs in their transition from education into adulthood. The project aims to prepare young people to make confident and well informed choices for adult life based on their skills, interests and experiences; it will also support them to develop social skills, independence and work skills.

Supported by volunteer mentors, and working with schools and  local organisations, the project will provide volunteering opportunities for around 700 young people who have additional support needs, for example a physical disability, learning disability, mental health needs, or behavioural issues,  to enhance their skills and experiences and increase their chances of sustainable employment.

Jemma Mindham, Business Development Manager at Volunteering Matters said:

“We are delighted that the Big Lottery has awarded us this funding. The Futures project provides many young people with special educational needs all over the Norfolk area with much needed- support and social contact and we really see the benefits of our work from our members who become more integrated in their community through meeting regularly and gain confidence to pursue  a brighter future. This funding is essential to the good work continuing and I look forward to seeing many more positive outcomes.”

The Futures programme was originally funded by a small local grant from Norfolk County Council in 2013, and was set up to trial the mentoring approach in West Norfolk, on the back of a Norfolk wide consultation with students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) discussing their hopes and aspirations, and plans for the future.

The need had been identified for young people  with learning difficulties to find support peer groups outside of their friends and family that could help them with work experience and CV building, help to learn roles, help to secure placements, complete application processes and so on. It was clear that the lack of focused activities for disadvantaged young people could lead to the risk of them being isolated and a gap in equal access to work and education opportunities would widen.


For press enquiries please contact Amanda Francis at Volunteering Matters, amanda.francis@volunteeringmatters.org.uk / 020 3780 5880 / 07754698854

Notes to Editors

Volunteering Matters is the UK’s leading volunteering charity running volunteering and social action programmes. Volunteers make a difference by supporting families in difficulty, young people leaving care, disabled and vulnerable adults and older and retired people. For more information please visit www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

The BUILD Charity is a Norfolk based independent charity providing social, leisure and learning opportunities to people with sensory, physical or learning disabilities:  For more information, call: 01603 618029, or go to: www.buildcharity.co.uk